Sodium Hyaluronate Provides Protection for Equine Joints

Pfizer Animal Health

Lameness caused by noninfectious joint inflammation, generally known as arthritis, is an occupational hazard for all horses. When indicated, veterinarians may choose to inject affected joints with sodium hyaluronate – a substance that occurs naturally within the joint and helps to create a cushion between bones and tissues. Such injections of sodium hyaluronate offer long-lasting lubrication for hard-working joints.

Pfizer Animal Health’s Hylartin® V (sodium hyaluronate) Injection goes straight to the problem area to help heal horses’ joints. The product is injected directly into the inflamed joint to lubricate joint tissues, reduce friction and improve joint action.

Healthy joints act as a shock absorbing system for the horse, with cartilage and synovial (joint) fluid serving as lubrication to protect the bones and other structures associated with the joint. Synovial fluid allows essential nutrients to enter the joint capsule to aid in the regeneration of cartilage. A key component of synovial fluid is sodium hyaluronate, which contributes to the elasticity and pliability of connective tissue.

When the joint is inflamed, the structures surrounding the joint swell, leading to increased friction within the joint. This inflammation also negatively affects the joint’s ability to produce synovial fluid, resulting in a lower quality sodium hyaluronate. This degraded sodium hyaluronate is less effective as a lubricant and the increased friction within the joint cavity can lead to the destruction of cartilage. Symptoms of an inflamed joint may include swelling, pain and heat around the affected area.

“For horses with noninfectious joint inflammation, injections of sodium hyaluronate may help horses to return to work or training sooner than they would be able to without treatment,” said John Donecker, VMD, MS, DABVP (Equine), FAAVPT.

Horse owners and trainers should work with their veterinarians to determine the cause of joint pain and lameness as well as treatment options. In the case of noninfectious inflammation, injecting the joint with sodium hyaluronate will often reduce inflammation and improve joint action. When injected into the joint, sodium hyaluronate forms long chains of intertwined molecules within the synovial fluid, creating a protective network within the joint cavity.

Joints may be susceptible to infection and other complications from injections, so only a product that is licensed for use in equine joints should be injected due to the risks involved. Non-licensed products lack approved safety data and should never be injected into a joint. Hylartin V is licensed for use in horses with documented safety records. As with all intra-articular injections, occasional mild side effects may include heat, transient edema and pain around the injection site. For full prescribing information, please go to

For more information on Pfizer Animal Health’s complete line of equine health care products, visit Pfizer Inc discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines, for humans and animals, and many of the world’s best known consumer products.

© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review

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